How to Become Born Again as a Christian
The lessons taught by Jesus of Nazareth are the most important and eternally impacting lessons that we can learn as human beings. Absolutely we possess the entire Bible for Scriptural study and doctrinal impact, but lessons learned from the Son of God heed special attention — there are a multitude of these lessons to lead readers as a shepherd leads his sheep. There is a borrowed copy of The Complete Sayings of Jesus in God’s servant’s library. His words are those of the Holy Spirit and provide answers to questions and attributes about spiritual doctrine that we do not normally have access to. One of these answers concerns the rite for entering into the Kingdom of God. There was a conversation between e was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (John 3:2)
Jesus describes to Nicodemus a transformational process that is a prerequisite to both seeing as well as entering the Kingdom of God. This process is broken up into two parts that make up the same process, given two different sets of descriptors:
1.) One must be born again.
2.) One must be born of water and the Spirit.
One of these descriptors given by Jesus are attentive of the initial human birth (born of water), but both of the descriptors focus on a second birth, elaborated as “born of the Spirit”. Many Christians immediately think of the rite of Baptism, a tradition present in the early Church that delivers the gift of the Holy Spirit to a person (Acts 2:38), a practice that dates back earlier than the 1st century to the days of the Prophets (Ezekiel 36:25). Water is present both at the biological birth and a baptism; however, John the Baptist makes a distinction between a water baptism and even uses the descriptor of fire (Matthew 3:11). A key element necessary for the spiritual baptism, or being born of the Spirit, is repentance.
This teaching is passed along by all of the Apostles, differing between a biological birth and a spiritual birth (John 1:13, Matthew 18:3, Luke 13:3). Indeed, this redemptive tradition was prophecized by the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 44:3), emphasizing the birth through the waters of the Spirit on the offspring and descendants of Israel’s generations. So how can a Christian be born again of the Spirit in modern times? This transformation takes place much the same today as in ancient times, yet there are more temptations that are present today for Christians. The path has become more difficult for Christians to stay in right relationship with God (as prophecized), but to be born of the Spirit today entails the same elements [that older Christians, Jews, Hebrews, and Israelites were accustomed to]. It is important to note that the Old Testament usage of repentance is turning back to the teachings of God through Moses and the Prophets — the blessings and curses associated with the redemptive process are temporal (Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28).
1.) Repentance In the Old Testament, this action is marked by usage of sackcloth and ash (2 Samuel 3:31, Job 16:15, 1 Kings 21:27, Nehemiah 9:1, Jonah 3:5). The change of position from a high, exalted, or proud position to a low, humble, and despondent position marks the repentence of “Old Testament Christians”. New Testament Christians echo descriptors of sorrow, shame, and humiliation that was present in the physical activity of ancient repentance. These actions are also described in the Psalms and Proverbs (Proverbs 28:13, Psalm 51).
2.) Change It happened that one time I was praying to our Father in repentance and He said unto me, “Stop being sorry, and change.” The people of Ninevah changed when charged with repentance or death by the Prophet Jonah. The change associated with repentance (becoming humble) is spoken as far back as the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 7:14), and as far forward as the days of the Apocalypse (Revelation 2:5). This is a major second part of the redemptive process that leads as an extension from the elements present at the beginning of repenting.
Together, repentance and change make up the process of being born again of the Spirit. It may not happen over night like the suffering blind and disabled — it may not happen in 40 days, but being born again in the Spirit, as a true Christian and child of God, is an essential part to Christian living. Christians that heed the truths of the Word of God and are obedient to His Will know that being born again in this way leads to salvation, and through salvation, human beings are admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven.
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength” (Isaiah 30:15).